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CTI Workshop discusses climate action in international aviation in the light of CORSIA

(Photo: Thomas Ecke / adelphi)

July 2017 - On 29-30 June, more than 70 experts met in Berlin for the 17th Climate Technology Initiative (CTI) Workshop to discuss climate action in the civil aviation sector. The workshop was organised by the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety (BMUB) to provide a platform for exchange for policy and aviation experts, decision-makers, scientists and representatives of financial institutions who work in the fields of climate mitigation and aviation.

This year’s CTI Workshop topic “Climate Action in International Aviation: Challenges and Opportunities for the new global market-based measure CORSIA” followed up on the momentum that climate action in aviation gained through the International Civil Aviation Organisation’s (ICAO) adoption of Assembly Resolution A39-3 in October 2016. The workshop dealt in particular with the Resolution’s provisions for a new global market-based measure. This new measure, the “Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation” (CORSIA) is expected to contribute to the organisation’s aspirational goal of achieving carbon neutral growth from 2020 onwards. The workshop took a conceptual approach to this new offsetting scheme through an analysis of the general requirements for CORSIA, ranging from monitoring, reporting and verification (MRV) considerations and the eligibility and environmental integrity of different offsetting standards, to the interaction between CORSIA and the Paris Agreement and the European Union’s emission trading system (EU ETS). Taking a more practical perspective, the workshop also took into consideration the view of the airline industry, the potential implications of CORSIA for the global supply and demand of carbon credits and the expected requirements of capacity building.

One of the event’s main insights was that CORSIA holds a significant potential for future climate action in the civil aviation sector. At the same time it became evident that the role of environmental integrity, standards and the level of ambition must not be underestimated during the phase when CORSIA will become operational.

How aviation turned the page on sustainability

On the first day, Berthold Goeke, Deputy Director General for Climate Action Policy, welcomed all participants on behalf of BMUB. Next, Jane Hupe, Director of ICAO’s environmental programme, opened the workshop’s first session. She emphasised that 2016 was a highly significant year as “aviation turned the page on sustainability”. She explained the background of CORSIA and invited all workshop participants to jointly act on a “vision of sustainable aviation”. Her co-panellist, a representative from the German Aerospace Center, gave an overview of the science behind climate mitigation in the aviation sector, explaining for instance that roughly 5% of anthropogenic warming is caused by aviation, including both direct greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and indirect climate effects.

The initial session was followed by a thorough examination of the general requirements for CORSIA. After presentations on potential registry architectures for CORSIA and on MRV challenges, the speakers discussed how cooperation between all stakeholders as well as meaningful and ongoing quality assurance for all relevant data could be achieved. Further, speakers and panelists exchanged views on the additionality of offset projects and the potential role of REDD+ for ICAO’s offsetting scheme. The last question was discussed by representatives of BMUB, the International Emissions Trading Association and the Environmental Defense Fund.

The first day closed with a session that allowed representatives of the aviation industry to express their views. It was pointed out that more than 50% of world travellers use aviation and that aviation is a prerequisite for modern global trade. At the same time, the speakers acknowledged that mitigation measures for the sector’s GHG emissions are imperative. They further argued that internationally agreed climate protection goals could not be achieved without carbon offsetting. Looking back at already realised climate mitigation actions in the sector, it was further highlighted that voluntary action is also worthwhile, given the increasing willingness of the flight industry’s customers to pay for the sector’s climate impact.

Linking CORSIA and the Paris Agreement

The second day of the workshop began with a session on the linkages between the UNFCCC’s climate framework, namely the Paris Agreement (PA), and CORSIA. The speakers discussed options for integrating both frameworks and took a closer look at the PA’s strong language on environmental integrity as well as its provisions for cooperative approaches under Article 6.2. They agreed that communication and cooperation between both frameworks is key – both to CORSIA’s success and to ensuring high-ambition climate action under the PA.

These findings were partly echoed in the next session, which dealt with the question of how CORSIA will drive global carbon offset supply and demand. The speakers agreed that in order to project post-2020 carbon market developments, it is essential to understand how the multi-polar carbon market works and how CORSIA and the PA will shape these markets in the future. Current risks in this context include the uncertainty regarding the implementation of the PA as well as policy inaction and a lack of incentives and ambition.

Getting ready for take-off

In the last session, representatives from public and private policy and financing institutions shared their view on what it takes to get ready for CORSIA’s take-off. They discussed the role of ICAO’s regional capacity building seminars for launching a successful CORSIA pilot phase and put into focus developing countries’ particular need for capacity building. The speakers and panelists agreed that the timeline for climate action in the aviation sector is very tight and that it is therefore time to grasp existing opportunities now.

At the end of the 17th CTI Workshop representatives of ICAO and BMUB thanked all participants for their interesting contributions and called for a continued dialogue on the issue, built on trust and partnership.


Thursday, 29 June 2017

CORSIA scheme: History, Background, Main Provisions, Roadmap (ICAO Secretariat)

Why emissions from civil aviation matter: Climate Impact of Aviation (TU Delft, ECATS)

Introduction to General Requirements for CORSIA (ICAO Secretariat)

Options for the CORSIA Registry System (DEHSt)

Challenges for airlines in MRV of emissions under CORSIA (Arthur Pelchen)

Eligibility Criteria in CORSIA: 4 W's (DG Climate Action)

Quality of units and double counting: What matters for CORSIA? (Lambert Schneider)

Challenges and Opportunities for the New Global Market-Based Measure CORSIA (VCS)

Introducing the REDD+ standard (Federal Ministry for the Environment)

REDD+ Considerations and wins for ICAO's CORSIA (IETA)

REDD+ and CORSIA: Big demand, big potential, big need for environmental integrity (EDF)

CORSIA - Challanges and Opportunities. Airlines taking action (Lufthansa Group)

Taking action -as well- on the voluntary market (myclimate)


Friday, 30 June 2017

Linkages between CORSIA and the Paris Agreement (DEHSt)

How could the UNFCCC process contribute to CORSIA's success (UNFCCC)

Features and implications of NDCs for carbon markets (ClimateFocus)

EU ETS and civil aviation (BMUB)

CORSIA: Quantification of the Offset Demand (Öko-Institut e.V.)

CDM supply potential up to 2020 - Climate impact of CORSIA's CER demand (NewClimate Institute)

Potential supply of non-CDM, non-Article 6 offsets (firstclimate)

Carbon pricing strategies for aviation (Transport & Environment)

ICAO CORSIA Regional Seminars and Capacity Building (DEHSt)

The World Bank and aviation - A capacity building initiative (World Bank Group)